We all know that parents should pay attention to both the amount of time kids spend playing video games and the type of games they're playing, but contrary to some prevailing wisdom, a new study shows that kids who play video games may actually be more creative than those who don't.
The study of 491 12-year-olds was conducted by lead researcher Linda Jackson, a professor of psychology at Michigan State University, as part of the Children and Technology Project. It found that the more kids played video games, the more creative they were in tasks like writing stories and drawing pictures, as gauged by the figural version of the Torrance Test of Creativity. The test uses picture-based exercises to measure mental characteristics like originality, elaboration, and emotional expressiveness.
The study found that in general, boys played video games more than girls, and, perhaps not surprisingly, that boys also tended to play sports and violence based games while girls tended to favor games featuring interaction with others. The Entertainment Software Association reports that about 72% of households in the United States play video or computer games.
The study also found that use of technology other than playing video games, such as using cell phones, browsing the internet, or using a computer for other tasks, did not have a noticeable effect on creativity. Jackson is hopeful that video game designers will be able to use the results of the study to design games which can "blur the distinction between education and entertainment."
[Image credits: Marco Ament]
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